When I get together with married friends I’ve noticed that we often talk about our childbirth experiences, the latest head covering fashion or sale and mikveh visits. The exciting mikveh stories are almost always the honeymoon tales of being in the middle of no-where and having to go to the mikveh. While it’s always fun to tell those stories, sometimes real questions come up in the context of the discussion, particularly with regard to times when women are travelling or hiking and have to tovel in the sea or in a lake.
The question of going to the mikveh in a natural body of water has been dealt with by Rabbis throughout the generations (such as in Teshuvat HaGeonim, Shaarei Teshuva, 164). Rabbis in the modern era have grappled with this topic too. Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, in Darkei Tahara (page 177), permits a spring or the sea for tevilla but recommends seeking advice from a Rabbi on the matter prior to immersion because there are a number of issues which must be taken into account. [Read more…]